In the beginning...
Mudgeeraba Spices and Curry Blends first began operation in 1993 by Maria Tate (nee Kumarakulasingh) and Allan Nielson when the couple moved with their four children to a 10-acre block of land in Mudgeeraba, the Gold Coast hinterland. Here Maria’s love of gardening took over and soon a third of the block was cleared and planted with curry leaves, vegetables, lemons, limes, mangoes, chillies, lemongrass, turmeric and galangal, amongst other things. With the excess from the garden, pickles and chutneys were made and curry blends were produced as gifts for friends and neighbours. In the early days, they where packaged into small bags and recycled bottles. These were the very humble beginnings of the business that later became known as Mudgeeraba Spices.
About our Founders
Maria was born in Malaysia to a Sri Lankan father and Chinese mother. Growing up in the Kampong (small village) surrounded by families from all over Asia such as Tamils etc, was where Maria’s love of cooking began as recipes from all over India and Sri Lanka were passed on – a lot of these recipes are still used today. The recipes we use come from many Indian and Asian regions – we make authentic North Indian, South Indian, Keralan, Malabarese, Malay, Sri Lankan, Thai, Tamil, Rajasthani and Kashmiri products.
Maria and Allan’s belief in providing a more superior product than others available soon came to the forefront as the pickles and chutneys were produced using the traditional and authentic methods. Made from only the freshest fruits and vegetables and using only natural preservatives such as olive oil and apple cider vinegar. The curry blends are made from the best spices available in Australia to guarantee the flavour and quality. Maria’s love of cooking and diversity in this area is demonstrated as more than 300 different product lines have been manufactured over this period.
The Journey Continues...
The range of products produced varied from curry blends to pickles, chutneys, sambals and chilli pastes. Products were sold at markets around the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Northern Rivers, NSW regions. As the products began to grow in popularity, we stretched to a variety of different shows in places such as Toowoomba, Gold Coast, Brisbane, Rockhampton, Lightning Ridge, and as far as Emerald, Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra, to name a few.
In 2001, due to the demand production was placing on this small home-based business, The Windmill Restaurant at Mudgeeraba was purchased in partnership with the couple’s youngest daughter Marissa Moore. An Indian restaurant was opened here on the 5th December 2001. With the restaurant open in the evenings five nights of the week, the couple manufactured the products during the day. Maria was busy imparting her knowledge of Indian and Asian cooking to her daughter during this time. During the time of operation of the restaurant, otherwise known Prasanth Fine Indian Cuisine, dishes from all North and South India, Tandoori Cuisine, Sri Lankan, and Malaysia were produced to tantalize the taste buds of its patrons.
Vision for the future
With the business growing significantly over the next five years, the restaurant was finally closed in 2007 to allow for more production time to make the amazing products of Mudgeeraba Spices and Curry Blends.
Fast forward to 2016, Maria and Marissa decided to sell The Windmill to seek bigger facilities as their business had grown so much. Lisa and Vaughn Henry of Cobra Chilli came along and thought the premises were perfect for their Chilli Sauce production company. In May 2016, Lisa and Vaughn moved into The Windmill to produce their artisan condiments and setup a cellar door showroom.
Maria and Marissa kept cooking at The Windmill for a few months whilst seeking their new dream kitchen elsewhere. It seemed a near impossible task, so in October 2016, they decided to retire from the business and close it down.
Having got to know the ladies quite well throughout this time, Lisa and Vaughn just could not allow the Mudgeeraba Spices brand and quality products to disappear forever. So, on Australia Day (Jan 26) 2017, Mudgeeraba Spices was purchased by Lisa and Vaughn and brought back to The Windmill to live again.
Over the following few months, Marissa trained Lisa and Vaughn in the art of producing the products traditionally and authentically. The ladies have tried the products and give them the thumbs up and are happy that the legacy created all those years ago continues forward, with love.